The PENTAGON Project investigates the potential of an energy management platform for a new generation of eco-districts
As part of the energy plan set by the European Union, the penetration of Renewable Energy Sources (RES) needs to be drastically increased in the next few years.
Given the inherent intermittent nature of RES production, a significant increase in renewables could cause further stress to the existing electrical grid. This in itself poses risks which can be solved by adding flexibility to electric loads, installing significant smart storage equipment and taking advantage of energy conversion.
It is to be noted that since 1990, emissions within the energy sector have decreased by 29%, due mainly to increasing shares of RES and fuel switching.
The PENTAGON project investigates the potential of wider deployment of energy conversion technologies and strategies at a district level. The project’s coordinator explains the Pentagon project in more detail and gives us a better idea of the main principle of the Power-to-gas technology.
What is the problem PENTAGON is trying to solve?
The PENTAGON project aims to dramatically increase district level energy flexibility capabilities by allowing for the integration of greater share of renewables at local and medium voltage grid level and catalysing the achievement of the EU target.
Furthermore, the PENTAGON Power-to-gas technology and energy management platform will be ready to integrate the market within five years after the project ends in November 2019. This on itself promises to provide significant impact for the better for future generations in Europe.
What is involved in the Power-to-Gas (P2G) process?
The principle is based on the storage of surplus energy from renewable sources, through converting it to hydrogen or methane syngas. The existing natural gas pipeline networks can also carry the resulting hydrogen and/or methane, facilitating the storage and transportation of these gases, which can then be blended with natural gas.
With increasing renewable shares, P2G could prove to be a valuable tool in delivering economic benefits to end users.
Source: IET Institute for Energy Technology
Does it require a high investment from governments and companies?
Despite requiring higher investment for the technology development and having a lower efficiency compared to Power-to-Hydrogen plants, Power-to-Methane systems represents a more promising solution due to the following main advantages:
1. Compression of hydrogen to a certain pressure requires considerably more energy than methane. Furthermore, when used for mobility, hydrogen has to be compressed to a much higher pressure of 700 bar than methane, which is stored at 200 bar. This leads to further losses when compressing hydrogen and compensates part of the additional energy loss in a Power-to-Methane plant.
2) When it comes to practical application, a Power-to-Methane plant has the advantage of being able to exploit the existing gas grid to distribute and store the gas; the gas grid can also provide redundancy for critical applications.
What impact will PENTAGON have for future generations?
Our project will pave the way for a new era of smarter eco-districts that allow extensive renewable production based on innovative technologies and an advanced multi-scale energy management platform.
This technological breakthrough will be supplemented by an assessment of the regulatory and business drivers which will lead to a successful deployment of PENTAGON compliant eco-districts all over Europe and beyond.